When looking to sell or buy a car that has been damaged, it is important to understand the difference between a Category D or Category C car. A lot of used car buyers will look for this detail first, which is why the terms are often seen on classified ads.
‘Cat D’ or ‘Cat C’ stands for ‘Category D’ or‘Category C’ and forms part of a four-tier system (A, B, C and D) that denotes the level of damage that has been sustained to a car following an accident. It is important to realise that any car described with having a‘Category’, will have been damaged in some way, and could be classed as a write off by insurance company’s.
A ‘Cat D’ car is one that would cost less to repair than the value of the car, but the repair cost is still deemed to be excessive by the insurer. A ‘Cat C’ car is one that has been damaged to a point where the repairs would have cost more than the value of the car. Insurers tend to value cars at the lower end of their market price so they can make as much money as possible when selling the car on, so sometimes the damage to write off a car is only be very small.
For example, a 10-year old car that has a small dent in it might see the insurer find examples of the same car selling for around £1,000, but the dent could cost £800 to repair. This might result in the vehicle being deemed as a ‘Cat D’ write-off. However, the car could actually be in good condition for its age and have a value of more than £1,000 in reality, which means the dent could be repaired and the car could be put up for sale.
An example of a ‘Cat C’ write-off could be if a car is worth £1,000 and has a dent that would cost £1,200 to fix. If the car can be repaired and put back on the road, then a Vehicle Identity Check will be required from the DVSA for the car to be taxable and roadworthy. However, this test would not check if a car has been repaired properly, so if you are looking to buy one then asking a mechanic to give it a quick check over first, would be the best idea.
When a car is deemed as a category A or B, then they are not allowed to be put back on the road as the damage that has been sustained would make them too dangerous to drive. ‘Cat B’ cars will often have any of the useable parts sold on, whilst a ‘Cat A’ car can only be sold for scrap metal.
Sometimes insurance companies will not want to cover a ‘Cat D’ or ‘Cat C’ car if you buy a used one, so you might want to find another insurer or accept a higher premium. It is always important to make sure you are aware of the state of a car by getting a trained mechanic to check it over for you before you buy it.